I have just finished Vagabond, the Korean drama series on Netflix. One key event that drove the whole series was the bombing of a commercial airliner, killing more than 200 people on board. Although that was just fiction, it reminded me of a book that I had read not long ago, about a similar event that happened in real life, with real people being killed for a sinister political scheme: From Russia with Blood.
It was an eye-opener for me as I followed the events detailed in the book. If all of the claims in the book are true, and they are very likely to be, as they are all real events that happened with many witnesses and records, Putin is really a monster, a dictator with no regard to human lives, a scary figure who is willing to go all out to protect his leadership position and silent all his opponents, as well as advancing his impacts overseas by interfering in other countries’ local affair. Moreover, he is truly a ruthless murderer, who committed unspeakable atrocities against humankind, not only in his country but overseas as well.
The book chronicled the journey of Putin from a nobody spy in East German to the throne of Russia, a path soaked with the blood of innocent people and those who opposed him. And in that journey, a man stood out clearly: Boris Berezovsky. The once oligarch and one of the richest men in Russia turned into an exile, had to live his life in London and continued his fight against the man he had helped push up to Russia presidency from abroad. Don’t get me wrong, Boris is no angel at all. He was a king-maker, and he has done a lot of despicable things in his life as well. But compared to him, what Putin has allegedly done was on a totally different level of brutality, and the amount of blood he has spilled to further his cause was simply despicable.
I know that politicians lie. But it’s one thing to lie, it’s a totally different thing to kill hundreds of innocent people to pave your way to power. And even though Putin has never confirmed that many evidence pointed to his involvement in the blowing up of the residential block in Moscow that killed more than 200 people, which he blamed the Chechen rebels and used that as the cause to wage a bloody war in Chechnya that led to the murder of thousands of people there. That incident and that war helped cement his image as a strong leader that Russia needed to restore order. And that was not the only time. A few years later, he allegedly orchestrated the kidnapping of 300 people in a theatre in Moscow and killed more than 200 just to take out the dozen of kidnappers, which turned out to be arranged by him as well, to divert the bad press and attention away from him and his failed attempt to improve the life of normal Russians. If both claims are true, he should be in prison for a crime against humanity, or worse, death, but instead, his power is growing stronger than ever, and he is now orchestrating a grand attempt to stay in power for the rest of his life. That is simply unimaginable.
Aside from those 2 major accusations, there were many deaths, most were in England, and some were of famous and rich people who had crossed path or conflicted with Putin, that could be traced back to him and his government. Alexander Litvinenko was poisoned for investigating Putin’s crimes. Boris Berezovsky suspiciously died in his bathroom after years of trying to wage war against him. Anna Politkovskaya was killed for writing about him in the local newspaper. Badri Patarkatsishvili was poisoned for trying to overthrowing the Georgia government set up by Putin. And most recently, Sergei Skripal was poisoned for being a double spy against Russia. It was really scary to see such bold moves, some even leading to many collateral damages due to the clumsiness and amateurism of the assassins who were chosen to carry out the attacks. And it was even more frustrating to see the UK government biting the bullets and letting it go again and again, for fear of offending Putin and severing the economic ties with Russian companies, many of which were directly linked to the Russian government, investing a huge sum in England, and UK companies investing in Russia. No wonder why Putin can confidently push the envelope further and further, even annexing another country’s sovereign territory or interfering in other countries’ internal affairs. So far, for all his bold moves, the reaction he received was little more than some strong and empty words with no concrete follow up action.
It was quite a grim read, and it showed the ugly side of the world we were living in. The mastermind criminal is still out there, ready to strike and wreak more havoc for his own political agenda, and the reaction so far has been weak and at best reactionary. With the US retreating and looking inwards, he will be even more emboldened to carry out his dark plans, and we can only watch helplessly. The US election is coming very soon, and will there be another cyber operation to put a puppet who will be soft on Russia in the White House once again? Only time will tell, but there seems to be no reason why he will not strike again.